This free-to-play shooter one-ups the competition with a new randomized co-op mission every day.

Warface is beautiful, as you’d expect out of Crytek. It’s also got the nuts and bolts of shooter gameplay down – no surprise there. The minor twists on modern shooter standards created by a Bulletstorm-like slide move, plus a co-op mantling move that lets two players climb onto platforms and structures inaccessible to solo players, are neat but hardly genre-defining. The six standard competitive modes are exactly what you’d expect, though their implementation as far as I’ve seen from a brief demo at E3 is uniformly top-notch. What sets Warface aside is the emphasis on co-op play.

Every day, a new five-player co-op mission becomes available as one of the many ways to play the game. I didn’t get to see the variety promised, but the one mission I played with Crytek and Trion employees was an enjoyable, if straightforward, romp through a linear level full of a slew of different enemy types. The miniboss battle at the end of the section I played put the five of us on a cramped bridge battlefield against a heavily armored minigun-wielding foe who could only be damaged from behind. 

A lot of little touches elevate Warface beyond being a merely competent co-op shooter. Between the mobility granted by the slide move, mechanics encouraging teamwork like distributing health kits and ammo refills, and on-the-fly weapon customization similar to but even better than Crysis 2’s, I had a blast mowing down NPCs.

As relatively easy as this normal-difficulty level was, Crytek tells us that the hardest co-op level has only a seven percent completion rate in Russia where the game is already live. Hopefully the developer will deliver a nice range between those two extremes.

Warface didn’t blow me away at E3, as its action is better described as “good” than “exceptional” in a crowded shooter genre, but I appreciate the co-op focus – and you won’t find anything that can touch the glorious fidelity of its presentation in the free-to-play space.

Warface is currently in closed beta, and is set to open that up to many more players in the coming months. No release date has been announced, but given the game is already out in Russia and that localizing a military shooter isn’t exactly like bringing Final Fantasy over from Japanese to English, you can expect to get your own hands on Warface sooner than later.